A few months ago after a particularly challenging session from work, I thought to myself wow I feel like I have been talking people off the roof today!

Then as women typically do, I switched to thinking about what it must be like to be a law enforcement hostage negotiator?

So that of course led me to Google and to making a snap decision to inquire about joining a training.

This is the technique that I have found works to push me forward…I immediately act on an idea before I think rationally enough to convince myself that it’s a bad idea. 

Awesome right? Its was awesome till I realized I was actually going to have to go through with it!!

So I emailed the Hoover Negotiating Trainer yesterday who happens to be a Licensed Professional Counselor on top of being a total bad ass everything cop just to make sure that this training was okay for me.

Because I am not a cop..and I would love an excuse to get out of this crazy hair brain idea that I had already signed up for 2 months ago.. 

He responds “Come on tomorrow 0830.”


After arriving at the wrong police station and calling Mr.Sargent Parker twice on his cell phone because I didn’t have myself together.

I show up 15 minutes late. 

Sargent Parker Head Trainer who allowed me to join the training..just so happens to be Michael Jordan’s twin but in a Special Ops Negotiator uniform..


I am so beyond nervous that I  pull a total Elle Woods from the “Legally Blond” movie. I walk in the training room with my Louis Vuitton purse dangling half open off my shoulder, fumbling for my seat and apologizing simultaneously in what most likely sounded like a sorority girl voice for being late while furiously shaking hands and introducing myself.

 I could tell this might not have been one of my brighter ideas.

After a lovely PowerPoint presentation on the Black Lives Matter Movement and how it started..I started to relax…

Until Sargent Michael Jordan says okay so let’s get to it.

Double Gulp.

So all these experienced negotiators started unpacking 4 large briefcases of electronics.. 300 ft of cables, surveillance monitors, huge boxes with switches that must control our nuclear weapons systems, and the biggest headset and microphone on the planet with a bunch of red clickers.

Simulated Negotiations begin… My roll as rookie is to  watch and learn…that is until the “simulated” Black Lives Matter Protester decides he hates cops and hangs up on the negotiator..5 minutes he gives them to call him back with someone besides a cop or else he and his hostages or going down.

I watch in anticipation. This is the real deal!!

Then one of the negotiators says..“Well, if he hates cops why don’t we let the counselor take over. She obviously isn’t a cop!” 

Triple Gulp!!!!

In typical cop fashion they start chanting counselor, counselor, counselor in a boys club sort of way…

So I put on some lip gloss, which I do  when I am nervous..

I grabbed the red clicker, put on the headphones, took a huge big deep breath, and I became the head negotiator for that exercise..

We were a team with the same goal.We worked hard and completed the mission.  It was by far the coolest immersion exercise of my life and hopefully the last!

We actual completed 3 more simulated Hostage Negotiations throughout the 8 hour course.

It was super intense. I took so many deep breaths my  lungs got a charlie horse  but… I learned a lot.

Most importantly how brilliant, fearless and  committed our law enforcement is to protecting us from harm.

BUT here is the my Rookie Negotiator take away tips if you every decide to take on the headset yourself….

Something surprising: better negotiators focus more on the side, than they do on themselves.Instead of telling other people what to think, they ask questions, and really listen.

Following are some basics:

1. Once someone says yes, shut up!

You’d be surprised how often smart people make this mistake. What usually happens is that they are trying to prove their point, not to negotiate. Great negotiating is more about listening than talking. Once you’ve said something, you can’t take it back. Be careful with your words. People will hold you to it!

2. Be respectful

When you get an objection, don’t get defensive. Instead, ask for clarification. For example, if someone says they don’t like the strategy, ask them why. Ask for specifics. Seize objections as an opportunity to listen carefully, not to fight back. Don’t interrupt. Trying to win an argument rarely gets you what you want. Don’t be rude or pushy. Don’t negotiate if you are feeling EMOTIONAL. Similarly, if the person you are negotiating with is in a bad or unreceptive mood, table the conversation. Respect people’s time.

3. Focus on common ground

Don’t assume you know what matters to the other person. They may view the situation completely differently than you expect them to. And great negotiators craft their negotiation based on what the other person wants, not on what they want. Do your research. However, don’t shove all your opinions down your counter-parties’ throat. They may disagree with most of your analysis, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost. Focus on where you agree. Changing somebody’s mind is difficult and exhausting. And it rarely works. Spend energy building on where you already have agreement.

4. Know what you want

Don’t be afraid to reach beyond yourself. Think big. Don’t let fear prevent you from stretching yourself.  Good opportunities are missed when you are unprepared. It’s hard to get what you want if you don’t know what it is. The best negotiators know what they want at every step. Negotiations are often give and take, so aim high. Give yourself some wiggle room.


7 thoughts on “The Art of Negotiating…”

  1. Reggie Parker says:

    Nice article. I am glad you had a good time training with us.

  2. Corey Maxwell says:

    BOOM! Now that’s crazy-gutsy girl! I love the spontaneity! Go on with your bad self! 🙂

    1. clrgroupllc says:

      hanks Corey but the gutsy award goes to the indiduals that put their life on the line everyday. But it was super cool of them to let me join them!

  3. Alison Ray says:


    OMG!!! I am loving your blog posts!! These helpful tips can apply to almost any industry. The Elle Woods reference was such a great visual picture – it was like I was there.

    Congratulations on your new endeavor and for being so awesome and bold!! You’re going to do great things. Best of luck to you!


    Thank you,

    Alison Ray Chief Marketing Officer Red Rock Insurance Group / Altasurance, LLC 205.536.9131 direct 205.914.7974 cell

  4. Nancy says:

    Great article! Would have loved to audit the class ,but not have to participate.Keep setting the bar high for yourself!

  5. Nancy says:

    Great article! What an amazing experience, wish I could have been a fly on the wall. Keep setting the bar high!

  6. Beverly says:

    I have been sitting on this Thanksgiving Day morning reading your wonderful writings of your experience wanting to do maybe something a little different. I enjoyed reading about your experience in training for hostage negotiations. While that is serious I did enjoy your humor while writing about your personal idea!
    I didn’t know you write and blog . I’ll look forward to more wonderful writings from you.

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